Events organisers and suppliers to the MICE sector who haven’t heeded China’s latest outbound tourism numbers or what its travellers ask for most commonly in hotels (free wifi and kettles) could miss out on revenue in a major way.
That’s the key message, again, in Hotels.com’s latest Chinese International Travel Monitor, published last month. The fifth annual survey of its kind shows that despite a slowdown in the growth of Chinese overseas travel, 92% of travellers from the country plan to increase or maintain spending, and one-third plan to spend more on travel in the coming year.
A staggering 120 million Chinese travelled overseas in 2015, up from 117 million in 2014, the year when the milestone of 100 million was first passed. There were over a million (1,023,600) to Australia alone – up 22 percent on the previous year. And down under remains at the top of the Chinese traveller wish list for the third year in a row as the most desired destination to visit in the next 12 months.
A rough measure of the still-untapped potential of this market could be that only 5% of the 1.4 billion people in China hold passports, yet it’s already the top global spender on travel. The expenditure is expected to equal Finland’s GDP and exceed the size of the Greek economy in five years.
Chinese millennials – 18 to 35-year-olds – spend over a quarter of their income on travel. Two-thirds of travellers from China consider travel an essential part of life, and are prepared to spend nearly a quarter of their income on it.
Kettles and slippers
While the top requests in hotels by Chinese travelers were for free wi-fi and kettles in their rooms, requests numbers three and four were Chinese breakfast and slippers. However, one-size-fits-all perceptions of the Chinese as group tour travellers wanting only Chinese breakfasts and Mandarin translators are outdated, according to Abhiram Chowdry, Vice President and Managing Director APAC for Hotels.com.
“Our research shows that the industry needs to move decisively to develop new products and marketing strategies for the far more sophisticated Chinese travellers of today,” he says.
“An analysis of our research data has revealed that Chinese travellers fall into one of five travel personas [which] open the way for targeted marketing to attract these segments and cater to their specific needs.”
Read the report here.